From the New York Times news section:
Cities Try to Turn the Tide on Police Traffic Stops
Chiefs, prosecutors and lawmakers are rethinking the value, and the harm, of minor traffic stops like the one that ended in a man’s death in Grand Rapids.
By David D. Kirkpatrick, Steve Eder and Kim Barker
April 15, 2022, 3:00 a.m. ET
Los Angeles is overhauling its traffic policing, aiming to stop pulling over cars — frequently with Black drivers — for trivial infractions like broken taillights or expired tags as a pretext to search for drugs or guns.
“We want to fish with a hook, not a net,” Police Chief Michel Moore said.
Los Angeles last month became the biggest city to restrict the policing of minor violations. In Philadelphia, a ban on such stops has just taken effect. Pittsburgh; Seattle; Berkeley, Calif.; Lansing, Mich.; Brooklyn Center, Minn.; and the State of Virginia have all taken similar steps. Elsewhere across the country, a half-dozen prosecutors have said they will not bring charges based on evidence collected at these stops.
As the Biden Administration has made clear, America needs more gun control laws. But what America also needs, evidently, is less enforcement of existing gun control laws on those most likely to commit murder. The point of gun control laws is to harass the people who will obey the gun control laws, law abiding white Republican hunters, while easing off on enforcing gun control laws on black criminals carrying illegal handguns.
Officials pushing the new rules cite data showing that minor stops not only disproportionately snare Black drivers but also do little to combat serious crime or improve public safety, and some escalate into avoidable violence, even killing officers or drivers.
On the other hand, ever since the Racial Reckoning against pro-active cops started on May 25, 2020, both murders and traffic fatalities per million miles driven have gone up more than in any other period of the last three score years, with black death rates particularly elevated.
It’s almost as if the threat of traffic stops encourages drivers to drive more safely and not pack an illegal handgun.
The latest example is the death in Grand Rapids, Mich., of Patrick Lyoya, an unarmed 26-year-old Black man who was pulled over for a mismatched license plate and, after a brief struggle, was apparently shot in the head from behind, according to videos released on Wednesday. An hour away in Lansing, new rules seek to prevent such deadly encounters.
“There is a trust factor,” Mayor Andy Schor of Lansing said in an interview last month, “that if you get pulled over — whether it’s a moving violation, or pretextual, or whatever — you’re not going to end up dead.”
Police chiefs and criminologists say the rule changes amount to the first major reconsideration of traffic policing since the early 1980s, when rising crime rates, a shift toward more proactive policing and the advent of squad car computers for checking driver records helped make pretextual stops a cornerstone of enforcement.
“Never before have government officials, policymakers or prosecutors tried to limit how police officers use traffic stops in their investigatory role — in fact, historically, making these stops was encouraged,” said Sarah A. Seo, a law professor at Columbia University who studies traffic stops. “These new policies may be turning the tide.”
Toward more murders and more fatal car crashes.
A New York Times investigation last fall revealed that in the previous five years police officers pulling over cars had killed more than 400 motorists who were neither wielding a gun or knife nor under pursuit for a violent crime — a rate of more than one a week. Police culture and court precedents significantly overstated the danger to officers, encouraging aggression in the name of self-defense and impunity from prosecutors and juries, the investigation found.
Legislation limiting stops in Pittsburgh quoted The Times’s reporting, and advocates across the country have cited it to argue for the changes. …
Good job, NYT!
The important thing is that you’ve encouraged a vast national movement favoring the highest value human beings—blacks who start fights with cops—over less important human beings, such as black party guests who are just standing around in the background eating a plate of ribs while one of the Important People goes and gets his illegal handgun out of his car and starts banging away into the crowd in the general direction of somebody who hurt his feelings.
… In Los Angeles, the police union is running online advertisements warning that discouraging stops could allow guns and killers to remain on the roads.
… At a time when an uptick in crime has stalled many criminal justice reform efforts, including at the federal level, the rethinking of traffic policing is striking. It is coming “at the very moment that the pendulum feels like it’s moving back toward concern about increases in street crime,” said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum.
In other words, it’s a zombie movement of bad ideas promoted by people who refuse to admit they were wrong over the last 22 months.
Finally, in the 32nd paragraph, a mention of the traffic crash problem when the cops aren’t making a big show of pulling people over by the side of the road with their lights flashing.
… In Seattle, Chief Adrian Z. Diaz said the demands for more equitable policing after George Floyd’s murder in 2020 had coincided with staffing challenges from the pandemic. Dangerous driving surged on empty streets while the number of officers available for duty fell sharply. In response, the city this year began using cameras to police red-light violations and other infractions at some intersections, and Chief Diaz ordered officers to quit stopping cars for a list of low-level traffic infractions that he deemed a waste of their time.
… State agencies could bill by mail for an expired registration. Police could quit stopping bicyclists for helmet violations because that no longer made sense in the era of helmetless bike sharing,
Bicycle riding is Good (because of climate change) so therefore it is Safe.
and pulling over cars just for air fresheners, cracked windows or missing front license plates had never made sense, he said. A program to pass out repair coupons for equipment violations is also in the works.
“We would prefer to get back to the basics of, you know, fighting crime,” Chief Diaz added.
In Los Angeles, the catalyst for change was a 2020 report from the police department’s inspector general showing that — reflecting national patterns — officers disproportionately stopped Black and Hispanic drivers, often for minor or technical violations. That was especially true for officers in gang units or assigned to high-crime areas. Yet even in those cases the minor stops almost never yielded arrests for serious crimes like drug or gun possession.
It’s almost as if pulling over guys who look like criminals tends to discourage them from carrying guns and drugs, so not pulling them over tends to encourage them to carry guns and drugs. Which may have something to do with the skyrocketing rates of shootings, traffic fatalities, and drug overdoses since May 25, 2020.
Last month the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finally released its final 2020 report “Overview of Motor Vehicle Crashes in 2020.”
There were 38,824 people killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes on U.S. roadways during 2020. This is the largest number of fatalities since 2007. It also represents a 6.8-percent increase from 36,355 fatalities in 2019, or 2,469 more people killed in traffic crashes in 2020. … The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased by 21 percent from 1.11 in 2019 to 1.34 in 2020, which is the largest percentage increase on record.
During lockdowns, traffic eased and cops stopped stopping people out of fear of infection, so people drove like bats out of hell. But then kept doing that once traffic returned when The Establishment declared the Racial Reckoning to be our new highest priority.
The cops were clearly doing a lot less work in 2020 than in 2019. Thus it appears that all sorts of non-fatal crashes didn’t make it into police records in 2020 vs. 2019:
The estimated number of people injured on our roadways decreased in 2020 to 2.28 million, falling from 2.74 million in 2019, a statistically significant decrease of 17 percent. The injury rate per 100 million VMT decreased by 6.0 percent from 84 in 2019 to 79 in 2020. The estimated number of police-reported crashes decreased from 6.76 million in 2019 to 5.25 million in 2020, a statistically significant 22-percent decrease.
… Total VMT for 2020 decreased by 11 percent from 2019, from 3,262 billion to 2,904 billion.
Key findings from 2019 to 2020:
• Fatalities increased and injured people decreased in most categories.
• Speeding-related, alcohol-impaired-driving, and seat belt non-use fatalities increased.
• Urban fatalities increased by 8.5 percent; rural fatalities increased by 2.3 percent.
• Older drivers 65 and older involved in fatal crashes decreased by 9.8 percent; drivers under 65 involved increased.
• There were fewer fatalities among people 9 and younger and people 65 and older from 2019 to 2020. Most fatality increases were people 10 to 64, with the 25-34 age group having the largest increase of 1,117 additional fatalities.
• Male fatalities increased by 8.6 percent, and female fatalities increased by 1.9 percent.
• Nighttime (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) fatalities increased by 12 percent; daytime (6 a.m. to 5:59 p.m.) traffic fatalities increased by 1.4 percent.
• Forty-two States and the District of Columbia had increases in the number of fatalities.
Summary of changes from 2019 to 2020 in fatalities, estimated people injured, estimated police reported non-fatal crashes, and travel pattern are provided in the following graphics.
Fatalities compared to 2019:
↑14% unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants
↑21% rate per 100 million VMT
↑21% ejected passenger vehicle occupants
You gotta try pretty hard to get killed in an ejection.
↑14% in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes
↑9.4% in single-vehicle crashes
↑17% in speeding-related crashes
↑8.5% in urban areas
↑12% during nighttime
↑3.9% pedestrians ↑9.5% during weekend
This report doesn’t break out by race, but my Taki’s column a year ago used NHTSA data and found the biggest increase was in black traffic fatalities (up 23%), with a massive shift from May to June 2020:
And from February, the NHTSA report for 2021 up through 9/30/21:
Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First 9 Months (January–September) of 2021
A statistical projection of traffic fatalities for the first 9 months of 2021 shows that an estimated 31,720 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationwide. This represents an increase of about 12.0 percent as compared to 28,325 fatalities that were projected in the first 9 months of 2020, as shown in Table 1. This also represents the highest number of fatalities during the first 9 months of the year since 2006 and the highest percentage increase during the first 9 months in the recorded history of data in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Preliminary data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the first 9 months of 2021 increased by about 244.0 billion miles, or about a 11.7-percent increase as compared to the first 9 months of 2020. Also shown in Table 1 are the fatality rates per 100 million VMT, by quarter. The fatality rate for the first 9 months of 2021 increased to 1.36 fatalities per 100 million VMT, marginally up from the projected rate of 1.35 fatalities per 100 million VMT in the first 9 months of 2020.
So, 2021 was the New Normal carrying on the pandemic/ George Floyd 2020.